BeFrank Theatre have brought a revolution to the stage and in doing so have made us examine the world we are living in today. The set is minimal but effectively serves as the backdrop for The Point Of No Return. The play unfolds with an empty university, signifying where the students are and we are plunged into the perilous world of Stella and her compatriots. The plot revolves around the progression of a revolution, with growing pressure on government officials to appropriate the use of force against civilians, culminating in lethal clashes between activists and government troops. The story is about an oppressed society fighting back in the face of corruption.
There are several noteworthy performances, but two actors steal the show. Luiana Bonfim’s expressions are raw and her passion is evident, a stellar performance from Stella, who is also Minister Y. Vikash Bhai’s portrayal of a riot-police who hints at feeling pity for the protestors, is sublime. Ironically he is the one captured by protestors and punished for the riot police’s brutality towards the demonstrators. Haakon Smestad and Jodyanne Richardson are also excellent. Smestad’s expressions as an imprisoned revolutionary are spot on, as is the helplessness portrayed by Julia’s grandmother (Richardson) as Julia leaves to join the revolution.
The use of music is intelligent. Traditional methods are intertwined with unorthodox ways to create a haunting echo throughout the play. Wine glasses are used to create a sense of eerie isolation, whilst the violin and piano are played throughout the play, altogether the effects are beautiful. The presence of a piano on stage symbolises the piano in Maidan Nezalezhnosti, which stood strong throughout the 2014 Ukrainian revolution.
Tommy Lexan‘s vision of recreating a revolution on stage is a success. The cast come together to create a story that refreshingly explores all sides of a revolution, offering a rare perspective on what officials and police undergo during such turbulent times. This production does not solely depict what occurred in Ukraine, it is an astute depiction of revolutions around the world, which have occurred and continue to occur. The Point Of No Return gently focuses on an anguished society fighting for freedom amidst cocktail bombs and police clashes. The phrase ‘World War Something’ comes to mind, insert a different capital, swap the citizens around and place yet another corrupt ruling elite and the play will no doubt ring true for them too.
A minor criticism would be that the story is not as focused on the search of the missing daughter – Julia as one might expect, reading the description on the website. Nonetheless it is a gripping production that skilfully informs and moves its viewers. 4/5
Review written by Prerna Prasad.
The Point of No Return is currently showing at the New Diorama Theatre until Saturday 23rd May. For more information on the production, visit here…